Charitable Incorporated Organisation Application
GeekZone is in the process of applying for Charitable Incorporated Organisation status. This will expand the opportunities that GeekZone is able to offer to members.
In order to do this, the UK Charities Commission must have a satisfactory answer to the following questions.
What does your organisation do to achieve its purpose?
GeekZone arranges a variety of events and activities based around computing, working with machinery, crafting fun and stimulating science experiments, being just a few. Members are able to make new friends and enjoy exciting experiences by working together on such activities. This provides an opportunity to develop social interaction and relationship building skills that can be used in life events as a mature adult such as interview techniques or networking. Hosting activities such as workshops, socials and visits, as well as attending events helps each individual to further develop their capabilities so that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society.
GeekZone also facilitates a number of larger community projects. For example the first “Geek bar” will be based in London and will provide valuable work skills and ethics. “The Geek Bus” will be our mobile educational space where we can craft our science projects in a relaxed environment. These will be used to hold events such as virtual reality demonstrations, programming classes or “Hackathons” where members can work or create together on any number of building, programming or other projects.
GeekZone is also partnering with other local organisations such as schools, universities and youth groups so as to bring interactive education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, STEM. We invite volunteers who have expertise in the STEM areas to work with GeekZone and lead workshops, classes or seminar. Many of these will already be part of the GeekZone community. A future session could teach participants how to make a 3D model in minecraft, then to 3D print it with a material of their choice, such as Lego. For example, GeekZoneCoventry ran a series of “Talking Heads” events, which featured 18 minute talks from members on their specialist subject and was inspired by the TED conference. Similar events have subsequently been run across the GeekZone districts.
Tell us how your organisation’s purpose is beneficial.
Help us to understand the benefit to the public of your organisation’s purpose by telling us what the benefits to the public are. It should always be possible to identify and describe how a charity’s purpose is beneficial. This can include detail of benefits to beneficiaries or to the general public.
GeekZone provides its members with the opportunity to rapidly expand their social network with likeminded individuals. It is estimated that mental health issues cost the UK approximately £70 billion per year (see http://is.gd/N1SlC7 (Guardian)). Research shows, however, that mental wellbeing is improved by building social connections, increasing physical activity, actively continuing learning and giving time to others (see http://is.gd/1jHCs9 (NHS)).
Through its events, activities and projects, GeekZone facilitates exactly this; bringing people together in an educational and supportive environment. For example, through our “Talking Heads” events, members provide workshops to share their skills with others. Furthermore, the “GeekBus” and “GeekBar” projects will provide significant physical exertion, encouraging and helping members to live active lifestyles. By enabling this type of positive interaction, GeekZone allows its members to build life-long friendships. In fact, some members have already described GeekZone as “lifesaving”.
Charity status will enable GeekZone to secure property in each of its districts and to develop a permanent base from which it can run workshops, activities and other events. These centres will also provide space for local individuals and organisations, promoting community capacity building. This will empower the local community with greater social cohesion and urban regeneration, as well as expanding the opportunities that GeekZone is able to provide.
Tell us about who can benefit from the organisation’s purpose.
Help us to understand who will benefit from your organisation's purpose. If your organisation's purpose is to benefit a section of the public it should make clear who can benefit. If this is not already made clear in the wording of the purpose tell us who can benefit from the organisation's purpose.
The people who would most benefit from GeekZone are young adults with difficulties in creating and maintaining social relationships due to personal isolation through various situations such as addiction to gaming or social media, or social anxiety disorders, regardless of whether an “official” diagnosis has been provided. Mental health is a huge area of medicine that is often misunderstood and sometimes not understood at all, therefore many people suffer from the social neglect or ridicule that often accompanies such disorders. GeekZone currently caters for a wide variety of interests, helps connect members with the same interests and assists members in forming special interest groups to encourage social interaction.
Are the people who can benefit defined by reference to a protected characteristic? Please confirm yes or no.
If yes tell us how the trustees are satisfied that this can be justified under the Equality Act. Go to the 'i' button for more information about the Equality Act and protected characteristics.
Members are encouraged equally to participate in GeekZone activities as they see fit. However, some GeekZone members may fall into protected categories. In accordance with the Equality Act as well as our core values, GeekZone will continually make reasonable adjustments to ensure that those within these categories are included. As such, all members will have equal opportunity to attend and participate in GeekZone activities. GeekZone aims to help its members face any challenges they may be experiencing as a community, for example, regents will give new members the opportunity to meet one-on-one to help the individual feel more comfortable and supported in a situation they have control of. The GeekZone constitution sets out strict anti-discrimination policies to ensure that anyone who wants to participate at GeekZone is able to do so.
Tell us how you make decisions about which individuals, groups or projects to support.
Help us to understand how the resources of your organisation are allocated to the public or section of the public it is set up to benefit. If you benefit individuals, specific groups or communities, tell us how you decide who to help and what criteria you use for that.
The GeekZone Trustees will, whenever possible, publish support requests on the GeekZoneWiki so that the GeekZone community can discuss and vote on them. A time limit will be given for these deliberations to ensure that swift progress is made. Where publication is not appropriate, such as in the case of a personal matter, the Trustees will act in the best interests of the community and vote amongst themselves. In either case, support requests are prioritised based on need, impact and alignment with the GeekZone ethos, as well as the time, personnel and financial resources required to fulfil them.
Once a decision has been made to approve a support request with a GeekZoneGrant, those members who volunteered to assist are called upon to do so. Should financial assistance be required, GeekZone will acquire the appropriate grant or other funding so that it can provide end products or mentoring, in line with the GeekZone personal benefit policy.
If you support or carry out projects tell us how you choose those projects and what criteria you use for that.
Projects are proposed by the GeekZone community. Wherever possible, the GeekZone community then decides which projects to support or carry out based on need, impact and alignment with the GeekZone ethos, as well as the time, personnel and financial resources required to complete them. If it is not appropriate to publish the project request, the Trustees themselves will vote using the same criteria.
Do people or organisations have to be members of your organisation to receive some or all benefits from its purpose?
Please confirm yes or no. If yes, help us to understand why you operate a membership scheme and tell us: * What benefits do members get? * Why are those benefits limited to the members? * What are the criteria for membership? * Whether there is a limit on membership numbers, the reasons for this and whether membership is allocated on a 'first come, first served' basis.''
Yes, GeekZone does ask individuals and organisations to become a member of GeekZone in order to protect the existing GeekZone community. By joining GeekZone, parties are agreeing to abide by its constitution, safeguarding individuals and pre-existing organisations. Membership benefits include receiving invitations to workshops, activities and other events that GeekZone runs, enabling those individuals to improve their social network. Additionally, it allows easy access to the latest GeekZone news and any changes to the GeekZone community.
The GeekZone Membership scheme is also in place so that, in the unlikely situation where a member contravenes the GeekZone Constitution, the trustees can take appropriate action and protect the GeekZone community as a whole. It is not, in any way, used to limit or impact the benefit that GeekZone can provide.
Does your organisation provide facilities or services for the public as a way of advancing its purpose? Please confirm yes or no
If yes please tell us: * What sort of facility or service your organisation provides. This might be a community centre, food bank, art gallery or football pitch for example. * What level of public access there is to that facility or service such as opening hours or frequency of services offered. If there are any restrictions on who can have access to the facility and why. * If there are any restrictions on what people can have access to the facility and why.
GeekZone will be looking to source a community funded premises to host its social events and activities so that members can locally expand their social network and receive community support. GeekZone is looking forward to furthering its purpose and expanding the range of services that it can provide. These will be community centres with 24 hour access to all members.
If your organisation operates from or maintains premises please tell us on what basis it uses those premises.
Tell us about the lease or other agreement you have in place for the use of those premises and provide a copy of the agreement with your application. If anyone benefits personally from this arrangement you can tell us about that in the personal benefit question on the next page. (max. 5000 characters)
GeekZone does not currently operate or maintain premises. It does, however, look forward to taking on premises in the future to further its events, activities and other abilities. It will look to utilise the most appropriate acquisition method for the area, be it rental, lease or purchase. GeekZone will be particularly keen to work in areas that are seeking urban regeneration.
Does your organisation charge people to access its services or facilities? Please confirm yes or no
If yes, help us to understand whether those charges exclude the poor from benefit and tell us: * What services or facilities you charge for; * The level of charges made; * Whether or not the trustees consider the charges to be more than the poor can afford and their reasons for deciding this. * Where the trustees consider the charges to be more than the poor can afford: * What provision they make for the poor to benefit and the factors they have considered in making their decisions about the level and type of provision to make for the poor to benefit.
GeekZone does not charge for membership. In the future, when it establishes its community centres, GeekZone may investigate the feasibility of charging for door entry keyfobs to ensure the security of all members and equipment.
Tell us if you (or if you are aware of others who) have identified any risks of possible detriment or harm that might result from your organisation's purpose or how your organisation will carry out its purpose.
Please confirm yes or no Tell us if you have identified any risks of possible harm that might result from your organisation's purpose. Please confirm yes or no If yes please tell us: * What the detriment or harm is; * How the organisation intends to minimise the detriment or harm; * How you protect any vulnerable groups including children that your organisation works with; and * any risk management policies you have in place such as a child protection policy, or a conflict of interest policy for example.
The GeekZone Trustees recognise that encouraging highly intelligent people to improve their technical skills in any area can have unforeseen consequences. For example, some GeekZone members might experiment with their newfound skills in the real world.
While it is obviously impossible to mitigate every situation, GeekZone will always encourage its members to use their skills responsibly for the greater good. Workshop leaders also explain what safeguards should be employed when using these skills in accordance with their subject area and level of experience.
Tell us about any personal benefits arising from carrying out your organisation's purpose.
Help us to understand how any personal benefit is no more than incidental by explaining: * Who receives personal benefit. * The type of benefit and the amount of benefit they receive. * How the trustees are satisfied that this personal benefit is no more than incidental. * There is further information about personal benefit including examples and when this is incidental in the 'i' button guidance. * Please provide details of any personal benefit to any trustee in the trustee section. * In the classification section of this application you have stated that your organisation promotes the arts.
In the future, GeekZone hopes to be able to reimburse pre-specified expenses that individuals make on its behalf. Trustees and other GeekZone members receive no personal financial benefit. GeekZone members receive the social benefits that are outlined in the GeekZone Constitution.
The GeekZoneTreasury, headed by the GeekZone Treasurer, keep the GeekZone accounts and ensure that any personal benefit to any member or trustee is non-existent and certainly no more than incidental. The GeekZoneTreasury Report is given at the monthly Trustees meeting and published on the GeekZoneWiki.
Tell us about any competition or team structures your organisation runs or participates in.
GeekZone does not currently participate in competitions. It does however, aim to encourage and aid its members to enter themselves for personal awards such as those in innovation, entrepreneurship or design.
In the future, GeekZone plans on arranging its own events for its members, and could also participate in events such as the Turing test or E3 gaming events run annually. These events will be discussed and voted on by the community.
If your organisation has a grant making policy tell us about it and attach a copy before you submit your application.
If your organisation has a strategy or business plan tell us about it and attach a copy before you submit your application.
GeekZone is currently in the process of developing its grant making policy document and strategy plan document. Both will be published via GeekZoneWiki
Tell us how you advertise the opportunity to apply for a grant and about the grant application and allocation process.
Grants will be advertised via the GeekZoneWiki. Applications are then reviewed and allocated by the community or, if that is not possible, by the trustees in the best interests of GeekZone.
Does your organisation monitor the impact of the grants that it makes and if so how? If you do not monitor the impact please explain why you have decided not to do this.
GeekZone will maintain a personal relationship with the recipients of its grants and quantify their individual impact on a regular basis.
Please provide more information on the programme of activities you provide?
Pint night: London and Chelmsford has this once a month where you can meet new people and old friends. Coventry has this every Friday where you can meet and get to know people and chill out. Food and drinks are available from the venue; it also has board games which people bring with them. Free film night at Fargo village: Films are usually shown twice a month, and after the film they then do a quiz which is linked to the film. Cinema invasion: Coventry and Chelmsford both have this event and people who want do this event vote for the film and the best time they want to watch. We meet at the place, in the pub or coffee shop near the event if there is time and if people aren’t too tired, we go back to discuss the film. Retro games night: This is at Fargo in ‘The Big Comfy Bookshop’ they have different consoles like Playstation, Xbox, Wii and N64. Also, you don’t have to play games, you can just chat. Pokémon walk: This is a walk which you can play ‘Pokémon go’ around Coventry, you don’t have play, it can be just a bit of exercise and chat with friends, new and old. Geocaching: This is a walk which uses a downloaded app on a mobile or use of GPS device. This can be done anywhere, you follow app then look for an object with item(s) in it and a paper which you sign with your name or Geekzone. Theme parks: Drayton manor or Alton towers. Geekathone: This is a glamping/camping event over two days with different events like archery, retro gaming, home cinema, Geoaching and board games. There is food and drink available at extra cost.
Comic con: these are events held up and down the country, the main ones which Geekzone visit are Leamington/Banbury/London/Birmingham. These events have Cosplay Competition, Comic stalls available, Manga stalls available, special guests, computer games and dealer stalls. Insomnia: This event held at Birmingham NEC is a gaming festival, they have Cosplay, indie games, new games, special guest, shopping. They have Mass multiplayer Lan Battle with Pcs, which you bring you own computer, playstation and xbox games, they also have retro game consoles and board game which are for sale and playable. Xbox live and Pc gaming event: this is an ‘online’ event which is played online with the group. Tabletop games: This is held in Chelmsford, these are board game events and people bring their own games. Science museum lates: This is a London event which is free, these are themed on different subjects. They have science shows, pub quizzes, punk science comedy shows and other things as well. Then ends with a chat about what was learned and some time to chill. Geekgrub: This is a restaurant or pub chosen around Coventry area where we can chat and have food. Invade the castle: These are events which are held at museums and historical places interest. There are other events which are put on like Godiva festival, food and drink festival held in Coventry and at Fargo village and cycling events with board games and picnic in the park, also laser quest and paint balling.
The events are arranged with the idea of helping to create people skills, social skills, bringing people together with similar interests for friendship.
Who are your beneficiaries? How are they identified? Do you have a selection criterion and, if yes what is it?
The beneficiaries are Geekzone members, they are members who want to help run Geekzone. They are voted for by members of Geekzone and then at end of the year, at the annual general meeting they are announced.
Please provide more information about the ‘Geek Bar’ and ‘Geek Bus’. What is provided? How do these activities further your charitable purpose?
The GeekBar and GeekBus are proposed future projects that GeekZone will be able to embark on to further the charitable objectives once CIO status is granted. They will provide venues that will facilitate outreach and give members a place that they can receive community support, assistance with a difficulty, educate others.
Who are the GeekZone community? What is required to become a member of the ‘GeekZone’ community?
Anyone can be part of the Geekzone community. Anyone who has interest in ‘geeky’ stuff, for example computer games, films etc. As a group we try to encourage people to come along to events like pint night, retro gaming and films as it can spark chat about those interests.
Do you have a business plan? If yes can we please have a copy?
The GeekZone Business plan is an ongoing document that is available at Geek.Zone/BusinessPlan